Scarlet Letters Have No Place in Medical Care


hivHospital employees in Jamnagar, India get no gold stars this week.  Yesterday, a 25-year old pregnant woman was first labeled with a badge stating “HIV+” then asked to wait in a separate line from other patients when she came in for a doctor-advised abortion of her 8-week pregnancy.

The woman was the mother of a six-month old baby, who was there with her at the hospital, along with her mother-in-law.  When officials discovered her HIV status, they pasted a sticker on her and walked her through the hospital corridors. A health activist spotted her and came to her rescue, and later a protest broke out over the incident.

The nurse who initially pasted the sticker on the woman and the doctors in charge of her case were asked to take a leave of absence.

Clearly, the good news about HIV and pregnancy hasn’t reached Guru Govind Singh hospital.  But it looks like the health activists are doing what they can to get the message across.


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